Every Cloud has a Silver Lining


No sooner than the announcement that UK troops invaded Iraq without WMD protection, the Bush-Blair lies justifying war were exposed from another source. In Iraq, weapons-hunters are spending more time on base, intelligence experts have been reassigned to work on the counterinsurgency, and the man leading a search for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons is thinking of bowing out.

After a nine-month search for the weapons of mass destruction Bush and Blair said they went to war over, the US-UK teams have failed. The lack of evidence shows that the UK and US governments lied about Iraq's alleged arsenal. Significantly, since Bush prematurely announced the war over, both Downing Street and the White House have backtracked to the point that evidence of "programs", rather than actual weapons, would be enough for them. Yet even this has failed to materialize and, following an exhaustive search, the weapons hunt has slowed.

Hans Blix stated the obvious: "The U.S. and the U.K. are so wedded to the idea that the Iraqis were hiding things that they are not willing to explore the possibility that they're wrong."

But there is good news. In October, the US Congress approved $600 million for the hunt. Former UN weapons inspectors have pointed out that the U.N. operation cost far less than the US one (and produced the same level of evidence of WMD in the one-third of the time the US has spent looking for weapons). Where is the money going? Big-name U.S. contractors like Kellogg, Brown & Root, which has a large operation at the US weapons hunters' headquarters running a fueling station, a dining hall and portable lavatories. Fluor Daniel, a subsidiary of the California-based Fortune 500 company Fluor, is putting in windows, turning palace suites into office space and helping repair damage around the grounds.

While Iraqis lack basics like running water and electricity, their "liberators" have a volleyball court, a barbershop, a store, laundry and alterations services. Nice to know they have their priorities right. And, of course, it is surely a coincidence that Kellogg, Brown & Root is a subsidiary of Halliburton, Vice President Cheney's former company. Only the cynical would accuse the Bush Junta of waging war to boost the profits of their corporate backers.


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